Councillor Max Schmid stated that this report would be debated and formally approved in over two weeks’ time at the Budget Council. He highlighted that while living costs and inflation were going up this Council was freezing Council Tax and had chosen not to apply the Government modelled 1% ‘adult social care precept’, resulting in a reduced burden on local taxpayers. These and the other measures proposed would not impair the delivery of services owing to £7.434m of new investment on new and better services for residents.
Councillor Schmid added that the budget proposals included prudent measures to strengthen the Council’s future financial resilience by contributing one-off resources of £2.1m to reserves and general balances.
The Leader commended Cllr Schmid, the Chief Executive, Kim Smith, and the Senior Management Team for the excellent report proposing greater investment fund into frontline services. He added that this was one of the very few councils in Britain to have frozen Council Tax without any extra funding from the Government. This was funded by the Council’s ruthlessly financially efficient programme, which eliminated bureaucracy and wastage, resulting in a modern effective business.
AGREED UNANIMOUSLY BY THE CABINET MEMBERS PRESENT:
That Cabinet recommend that Budget Council, for the reasons set out in this report and appendices, agree:
1. To freeze the Hammersmith & Fulham element of the council tax charge for 2022/23 and not apply the 2% increase modelled by the government for the coming year.
2. To not apply the government modelled “adult social care precept” levy of 1% for 2022/23, and to instead use council savings and income to fund growth in adult social care spending.
3. To set the Council’s own total net expenditure budget for 2022/23 at £125.657m.
4. To approve £7.434m of new investment on key services for residents.
5. To approve fees and charges, as set out in paragraph 10, including freezing charges in adult social care, children’s services and general fund housing.
6. To note the budget projections to 2025/26 made by the Director of Finance in consultation with the Strategic Leadership Team.
7. To note the statement of the Director of Finance, under Section 25 of the Local Government Act 2003, regarding the adequacy of reserves and robustness of estimates (paragraph 37).
8. To approve the reserves strategy and realignment of reserves as set out in Appendix J and Appendix K.
9. To require all Directors to report on their projected financial position compared to their revenue estimates in accordance with the Corporate Revenue Monitoring Report timetable.
10. To authorise Directors to implement their service spending plans for 2022/23 in accordance with the recommendations within this report, the Council's Standing Orders, Financial Regulations, relevant Schemes of Delegation and undertake any further consultation required regarding the Equalities Impact Assessment.
11. Set the Council’s element of council tax for 2022/23 for each category of dwelling, as outlined in the table below and in full in Appendix A and calculated in accordance with Sections 31A to 49B of the Localism Act ... view the full minutes text for item 4